**An Overview**

The boot camps are unique in that they cover the essentials of each subject in such a way that the student will be prepared to excel in the course once the school year begins in the fall. The *Algebra I*, *Algebra II*, *Trigonometry*, *Calculus*, *Physics*, and *Chemistry* boot camps will have two sessions a week, for 90 minutes each. The *College Admission Success* boot camp will focus on preparing the student for the college admissions process that usually starts towards the end of junior year. This boot camp will be comprised of a one-hour session each week.

**The Benefits**

Boot camps are beneficial in that they allow a student to learn new material or even review content before enrolling in a particular course. For example, some students may experience difficulty in Precalculus/Trigonometry or Calculus without a review of critical concepts such as the graphing of quadratic or polynomial functions, the use of the TI calculator’s graphing capabilities, or even an overview of trigonometric functions. Whether a student wants to brush up on existing mathematical skills or even expand on existing ones, the boot camp can prove extremely important to the student in that he or she will be exposed to challenging material on a weekly basis. In other words, the goal of the boot camp instructor is to continuously challenge the student and ensure that he or she understands critical concepts that will no doubt arise during the school year in the given course. The boot camp course is meant to prepare the student to take a given course in the fall and ensure that he or she is a step ahead of others in comprehending difficult subject matter. This is especially advantageous in math and science courses where a multitude of formulas, concepts, and theorems can lead to frustration on the student’s part.

**Life After High School**

The *College Admissions Success* boot camp is important in that the college admissions process has been getting consistently more difficult each year. This is due to several factors that the student cannot control. In order to facilitate this process, the student needs to have an understanding of the college admissions process. The boot camp provides this as well as everything the student needs to know to begin building his or her college list. Students will receive a better understanding of what types of campuses and college environments they prefer. Students will also begin developing personal statements and receive a written critique of their first draft by an expert college counselor one week after the end of this boot camp. They will also explore potential areas of interest for majors and careers. As well, tips for college visits before, during, and after the application process will be provided.

**From the Comfort of Home**

The best thing about the summer boot camp is that it’s completely offered online. This allows the student to integrate a variety of different activities into his or her daily schedule. In other words, the student can still meet with friends, play sports, or even travel with the family while participating in any of the online boot camps. All a student needs to effectively participate is an internet connection since all instruction takes place online. Even if the student were to miss an online session for some reason or other, any class is made available for download so that it can be viewed at a more convenient time!

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**Time Management and Study Skills Improvement**

Sometimes the student needs help with his or her time management and study skills. A tutor who provides “academic management” can help the student learn and develop good time management and study skills. The tutor can help the student learn how to develop a plan for completing projects and research papers so that they’re not left until the last minute. Leaving projects and papers until the last minute, especially a couple days or even the night before they’re due, only causes panic in everyone: the student and everyone around them, including parents. A good tutor should not just care about the student’s work during the hour or two hour session in which they are tutoring the student, but also days before and after the session. Tutors should help the student develop effective note-taking skills in notebooks dedicated for each subject or through permitted tape recorders. Too often, students take too few notes in class or none at all. When tutors notice this happening, they should bring it to the parent’s attention and help to correct the problem.

**Curriculum Development**

Sometimes the problem is that the student is not taking the right classes that promote his or her strengths and other classes that help strengthen his or her weaknesses. Tutors who provide quality academic management can help students and parents to develop a stimulating, challenging, and appropriate curriculum that they can enjoy and in which they can excel. This is also extremely important for students and parents who are planning for the college admissions process during the high school years since it is important to know which classes are required for the universities and colleges in which the student is targeting. Some students do not begin taking this process seriously until their junior or senior year, but it’s important to start developing an appropriate curriculum during freshman year. Determining extracurricular and community service activities is also extremely important to begin in a student’s freshman year. Students are at a huge disadvantage if they wait until right before senior year to begin this.

**Establishment of Regular Progress Reporting**

We’ve heard from parents how sometimes it is hard to keep track of what is happening in their child’s class. For this reason, it is a good idea to work with a tutor who is willing to connect with the student’s teacher and ask for regular progress reports that include notes on the student’s class attendance as well as areas of concern and those that are improving. Hopefully, the student’s teacher is willing to provide progress reports. Most teachers are willing to help the parent and student who are dedicated to the student learning and succeeding in their class by providing short but regular progress reports. This also prevents the parent from being surprised by report cards!

**Prepping for Classes during Summer Breaks**

Another way a good tutor can provide teaching assistance and academic management for a student is to help the student prep for a potentially difficult class in the fall during the summer break. This helps the student get a head start in the class, say in AP Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, Geometry, Algebra I, Algebra II, or Precalculus or Trigonometry. Students who prep for these classes during the summer, either 1-on-1 or in group sessions, notice the huge difference it makes when they are actually in the class during the school year and seeing the material for a second time. This helps them to master the subject material more easily, which of course not only helps them excel in their current class but more advanced classes in the future that require mastery of key topics from previous classes. Although summer is definitely a time for vacations and a chance for students to unwind, parents should really think about giving the student a head start on difficult classes to prevent frustration during the school year.

**A Tutor Should Be More than a Tutor**

We see ourselves as more than tutors at *The Teaching Tutors*. We see ourselves as Teaching Assistants and Academic Managers for each of our students. Our students receive personal attention as we work to provide overall assistance to parents for managing and maximizing their child’s academic career.

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Preparing for and taking the SAT or ACT can prove quite a challenging task for any high school student. Factors contributing to the difficulty of these tests include, but are not limited to, the following three points:

- a lack of time to devote to practicing and studying due to a taxing academic schedule or participation in extracurricular activities
- difficulty in understanding the subject matter on the tests
- a lack of adequate explanations to questions on existing practice tests

**ePrep To The Rescue**

ePrep is a highly recommended solution to the issues mentioned above in that it maximizes preparation on the student’s part and is designed to improve PSAT, SAT, SAT Subject Test (Math Level I and II), ACT scores, using a highly interactive and engaging method. More specifically, the student using ePrep does not necessarily need to attend a preparation course or meet with a tutor! The student simply needs to sit in front of his or her computer for as long as he or she wishes, perhaps a half hour or maybe even an hour, and work diligently on practice tests provided by ePrep. The student can take a practice SAT or ACT test in the comfort of his or her home and have the scores automatically calculated by the ePrep program.

The most amazing part of this program is that the student can view video tutorials for each question he or she answered incorrectly as well as those questions he or she felt less than confident about. In addition, a Wordsmith Vocabulary Builder is included to aid the student in his or her quest to master as many commonly tested vocabulary words as possible before the big test day. The student gets a 1-year subscription to the ePrep course which allows for a great deal of preparation before the test or even between test dates.

**More Bang For Your Buck**

The SAT course even includes an additional set of 100 Subject Lesson Topic Videos concentrating on the math, critical reading, and writing sections of the test and integrates recommended strategies for taking the test. The student will as well be provided with one or two hand-graded essays with critiques (depending on the course purchased) as well as suggestions for improvement. A personalized schedule, analytics adaptive diagnostics feedback tools, and a parental feedback center are also part of the SAT course. The ACT course differs slightly in that its topic videos focus on the four sections of the test: English, math, reading, and science.

**What’s The Bottom Line?**

Excelling on the PSAT, SAT, SAT Subject Tests, or ACT can be a daunting task even for the best student. Time constraints due to school work or other activities as well as difficulties in understanding the subject matter being tested may lead to challenges on the student’s part. The student can definitely benefit by using an ePrep course since it aids in maximizing the student’s time and allows him or her to personalize a study schedule based on his or her daily routine.

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**Does the Tutor Really Know the Subject?**

The first thing to look for in an Algebra II tutor is an individual who is thoroughly proficient with the material and whose background includes a solid background in Pre-calculus and Calculus. The reason for this is that the tutor will have to understand mathematics well beyond Algebra II in order to guide the student through problems and challenge him or her adequately. This will ultimately prepare the student for upcoming assignments, quizzes, tests, and finals in addition to more complex math courses. For this reason, peer tutoring may not always prove as effective as professional teach-tutoring.

**Does the Tutor “Click” with the Student?**

It is crucial that the tutor be able to relate to the student. This must be accomplished in two ways. Firstly, the tutor should be able to convey difficult subject matter to the student in a way that he or she will easily understand. The tutor must be able to use technology as well as the graphing calculator to help the student understand equations and inequalities, as well as various types of functions including quadratic, polynomial, inverse, radical, exponential, and logarithmic. Secondly, the tutor must be able to speak with the student in an engaging manner that encourages him or her to solve problems and work independently in the long run. This is achieved when the tutor works on boosting the student’s confidence by strengthening his or her weaknesses which may include fractions, rational functions, or even negative numbers. Unless the student’s weaknesses are addressed, he or she will have a difficult time excelling with more complicated topics in the future.

**Let the Tutor Know About Your Child**

It is extremely important that the tutor be informed about the student’s strengths and weaknesses before tutoring sessions take place. These may refer not only to mathematical capability but also to possible learning disabilities or any other issues which may affect the student’s learning of new material. Of course, the tutor will learn a lot about the student as the tutoring sessions progress. An expert tutor will be able to gain the student’s confidence and help him or her organize and strategize before attempting each day’s workload.

**Conclusion**

In conclusion, when looking for the best Algebra II tutor possible, the parent should choose a tutor who is very familiar with the subject matter well and works well with the student. Also, the parent should also be sure to talk with the tutor about the student’s learning style and any strengths or weaknesses he or she may exhibit within mathematics.

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**Talk To The Teacher**

An often overlooked way to get better insight on what type of questions are going to be on the test and what material will be covered is to pay a visit to your teacher during his or her office hours. This is not the same as asking about the test during class time. During office hours, the teacher is able to focus on your specific strengths and weaknesses and guiding you in studying the right material for the test. Many students have found that the teacher may give great hints about the test during a one-on-one visit. At the least, it shows the teacher that you have an interest in doing well on the test or final!

**Review Your Notes**

This is an obvious hint. You definitely need to spend a couple hours reviewing your class notes so as to get an idea of what topics your teacher will cover on the test. Simply going through the textbook may not be as beneficial since many teachers use it as a supplemental reference tool. The textbook should be used to clarify topics from the class notes. In addition, the textbook can be used to get extra practice problems to work on in order to prepare for test day. Try doing a couple easy, a couple medium, and a couple hard problems in order to get an idea of the range of questions that may be asked on the test.

**Study with Studious Friends**

If you’re really in trouble because you completely don’t understand anything that’s been covered in class up to test time, you need to pair up with your studious friends so that they can explain the topics to you in an understandable way. Being around others who get the material will probably not result in the essential concepts magically rubbing off on you, but it’s definitely a start and can lead to success if utilized in the right way. Also remember that this is not the time to hang out with those friends who haven’t been following in class either! That will only lead to more despair on your part and is a surefire way to do poorly on the test.

**Recruit the Ultimate Lifesaver**

If all other possibilities seem hopeless, it’s probably time to get a tutor! A tutor may not be able to work miracles, but he or she can definitely help you strategize and learn as much material as humanly possible in the remaining time. Be sure to recruit a knowledgeable tutor who really understands the subject whether it’s mathematics, science, English, or a foreign language. Also, be sure that the tutor is compatible with your learning style so that you can learn everything you need to know as soon as possible without having to overcome personality or even communication hurdles!

In summary, to have the best shot at acing a test (without having studied much), you need to talk to the teacher during office hours, thoroughly review your notes, study with your studious friends, and hire a tutor if needed!

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]]>**Be Consistent!**

Tutoring can be extremely beneficial if used as a supplementary educational tool over the course of the school year. That is, the tutor is most effective when he or she can help clarify ambiguous or even difficult topics as they arise throughout the course. This method allows the tutor to work with the student in gradually learning concepts as they arise and help prepare for assignments, quizzes, tests, and finals on a weekly basis.

On the other hand, when a tutor is used only right before a major test or final exam, it automatically puts the student at a disadvantage. This is because mastering a large amount of material or even a semester’s worth of work before a final is no easy task even for the best student! This is not to say that an expert tutor cannot help a student in this situation, but it greatly reduces the student’s chances of effectively retaining newly learned concepts needed to excel.

**Keep Notes in Class!**

It is very important for students to keep thorough class notes over the course of the school year. Some students may dislike keeping notes since they believe they fully understand the material being presented in class on a daily basis. This attitude is not beneficial in the long run because teachers often times give important clues as to the structure of their quizzes and tests as they teach. The student who neglects to take notes will miss out on this information at a later date (such as right before a test) since he or she never wrote it down! It is also good to know how a particular teacher solves different types of problems since he or she may expect you to solve it similarly on a test. Great notes also help the tutor since he or she can see exactly what the teacher covered every day as well as get an idea of how the teacher organizes the course material.

**Keep the Tutor Updated!**

As a final note, the student should always strive to keep the tutor updated as to his or her progress via e-mail or other forms of communication. This helps the tutor to better prepare for each tutoring session. With this extra preparation, the tutoring session is maximized and the student can learn as much as possible during the time.

In conclusion, when working with a tutor, the student should maintain a regular schedule, keep thorough notes in class, and communicate with him or her on a regular basis. These actions will aid the student in achieving his or her academic goals in the most effective manner possible.

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]]>**The Parabola**

The first conic section usually studied is the parabola. The equation of a parabola with a vertex at (h, k) and a vertical axis of symmetry is defined as (x – h)² = 4p(y – k). Note that if p is positive, the parabola opens upward and if p is negative, it opens downward. For this type of parabola, the focus is centered at the point (h, k + p) and the directrix is a line found at y = k – p.

On the other hand, the equation of a parabola with a vertex at (h, k) and a horizontal axis of symmetry is defined as (y – k)² = 4p(x – h). Note that if p is positive, the parabola opens to the right and if p is negative, it opens to the left. For this type of parabola, the focus is centered at the point (h + p, k) and the directrix is a line found at x = h – p.

**The Circle**

The next conic section to be analyzed is the circle. The equation of a circle of radius r centered at the point (h, k) is given by (x – h)² + (y – k)² = r².

**The Ellipse**

The standard equation of an ellipse centered at (h, k) is given by [(x – h)²/a²] + [(y – k)²/b²] = 1 when the major axis is horizontal. In this case, the foci are given by (h ± c, k) and the vertices are given by (h ± a, k).

On the other hand, an ellipse centered at (h, k) is given by [(x – h)² / (b²)] + [(y – k)² / (a²)] = 1 when the major axis is vertical. Here, the foci are given by (h, k ± c) and the vertices are given by (h, k ± a).

Note that in both types of standard equations for the ellipse, a > b > 0. Also, c² = a² – b². It is important to note that 2a always represents the length of the major axis and 2b always represents the length of the minor axis.

**The Hyperbola**

The hyperbola is probably the most difficult conic section to draw and understand. By memorizing the following equations and practicing by sketching graphs, one can master even the most difficult hyperbola problem.

To start, the standard equation of a hyperbola with center (h, k) and a horizontal transverse axis is given by [(x – h)²/a²] – [(y – k)²/b²] = 1. Note that the terms of this equation are separated by a minus sign instead of a plus sign with the ellipse. Here, the foci are given by the points (h ± c, k), the vertices are given by the points (h ± a, k) and the asymptotes are represented by y = ± (b/a)(x – h) + k.

Next, the standard equation of a hyperbola with center (h, k) and a vertical transverse axis is given by [(y – k)²/a²] – [(x – h)²/b²] = 1. Note that the terms of this equation are separated by a minus sign instead of a plus sign with the ellipse. Here, the foci are given by the points (h, k ± c), the vertices are given by the points (h, k ± a) and the asymptotes are represented by y = ± (a/b)(x – h) + k.

Finally, note that c² = a² + b² must be satisfied in both hyperbola equations mentioned above.

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]]>When most students take the math sections of the SAT, they seldom pay attention to the reference information (i.e. the formulas) provided by the College Board. This is usually the case since they may feel that they already know the formulas so well that they don’t really need to rely on the table given to them. As a result, many students make careless mistakes since they often don’t check the formulas before using them. For example, the formula for the volume of a cylinder is provided as V = (pi)(r^2)h. However, sometimes students mistakenly write this formula as V = (pi)rh and therefore solve a problem incorrectly. This is a needless mistake to make especially since the formula is given.

**The Most Important Formula****Ever!**

The most important information provided in the reference area on the SAT is perhaps the list of figures depicting 30-60-90 and 45-45-90 special right triangles. These figures are important because students often confuse the side ratios especially on the 30-60-90 triangle. Many problems on the math section of the

SAT deal with these types of triangles.

**Use Your Calculator**

Forgoing the use of the calculator for simple calculations can be a grave mistake when taking the SAT. This is because many students feel that they are experts at quickly adding numbers in their heads. Though this may be true, mistakes can be made especially when fractions or negatives are involved. Using the calculator can minimize the occurrence of mistakes on the math section. It should as well be noted that many of the answer choices on the multiple choice section are based on common computational mistakes that students may make when solving a given problem.

**It’s All About** **Time!**

In general, time is of the utmost importance on the SAT. More specifically, the time provided for completing the

math section must be divided appropriately so that the right amount of time is spent on solving each question. That is, the student should not rush through each section for fear that he or she will not finish on time. Conversely, the student should not spend too much time on any given question for obvious reasons. It should be noted that in general, the questions in each section get progressively harder from beginning to end. Therefore, most students should leave more time to answer later questions.

The first math section of the SAT has 20 questions to answer in 25 minutes. This means that on average, the student should take 1.25 minutes or 75 seconds to answer each question. Of course, the initial questions will usually take less time to answer, therefore leaving more time for later questions. The second math section including the student-produced response questions involves answering 18 questions within 25 minutes. This gives about 83 seconds to answer each question. Finally, the last section is made up of 16 questions to answer within 20 minutes. This gives 1.25 minutes or 75 seconds to answer each question.

**Conclusion**

The student taking the math sections of the SAT should focus on effectively using the reference information table provided. Also, the student should not forgo calculator use because it is probably the student’s best friend on exam day! Finally, time is a major factor in excelling on the math sections and should be analyzed in terms of the average number of minutes needed to answer each question.

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Precalculus can be a challenging subject to understand even for the best math student. It follows in the footsteps of Algebra II to some extent but goes into more depth in dealing with various types of complex functions. For example, more emphasis is placed on looking at different characteristics of linear functions as well as the graphs of polynomial, absolute value, square root, radical, piecewise, exponential, logarithmic, conic, and trigonometric functions. These are analyzed while also focusing on understanding real-life word problems which incorporate many of these types of functions.

**The Benefits of an Online Tutor**

An online Precalculus tutor can help the student to fully comprehend the functions mentioned above. The tutor should utilize a full array of internet resources to compare and contrast the different functions. Another important aspect emphasized in Precalculus is the transformation of the graphs of functions. The online tutor can demonstrate the effect of a horizontal/vertical shift, stretch/compression, reflection, or rotation of any given function by using an online whiteboard and online materials. Many times, the student will decide that the online tutor is a better investment of time than an in-home tutor since the former can efficiently focus the entire tutoring session on teaching the principles needed to excel in Precalculus. The online tutor can keep the student engaged and focused on the material being presented by using a variety of tools and using the whiteboard to outline important points and concepts. The student also has the option of interacting with the online tutor on the whiteboard and printing any notes posted to the whiteboard.

**The Benefits of a Homework Help Site**

A homework help site can as well be of great use to a student needing clarification of a given topic or even a particular homework problem. A homework help site differs from online tutoring in that the former allows the student to ask questions on a forum and subsequently have it answered by an expert. The student can even use an online whiteboard to draw a sketch or diagram to accompany the question he or she wants answered. This option is usually less expensive than working with an online tutor and allows the student to ask an unlimited number of questions for a reasonable monthly fee. The expert answers the student’s questions within a short period of time. Another advantage to the student is that all questions and answers are archived and made available for the student to review at a later time. Given this option, a student may find that a question pertaining to a particular topic may have been answered in the past. A homework help site can be ideal for a student of Precalculus in that any question can be asked and then answered by a Precalculus expert.

**Conclusion**

In conclusion, the Precalculus student must memorize a variety of functions and thoroughly understand their characteristics. The online tutor or even a homework help site can be extremely beneficial in aiding the student to achieve his or her goal of excelling in Precalculus due to their highly interactive and educational nature. The Teaching Tutors will soon be offering a Homework Help Site in addition to its online tutoring services in order to better serve its students!

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Some parents may be unsure whether an online tutor can actually help their child! Why? There are many reasons for this. The most common is usually based on the notion that the parent thinks that an online tutor cannot produce the same results as an in-home tutor. Parents tend to think that a tutor has to be sitting right beside a student in order to teach him or her effectively. However, most online tutors are equipped with an online whiteboard, a headset with microphone, and access to a variety of resources on the internet, including practice problems, tables, graphs, alternate explanations, and very often a resource webpage posted by the student’s teacher. To increase the student’s understanding and facility with the subject material, online tutors have the ability to integrate these resources into their tutoring sessions rather than just relying on the material found in the student’s textbook. With these tools, the online tutor is able to convey any topic as effectively if not more effectively than if he or she was sitting with the student…while at the same providing more convenience and greater affordability.

The online tutor is able to access the internet along with the student. For example, if a student is working on a stoichiometry problem in chemistry, the teacher can access a periodic table online and look at it simultaneously with the student while typing out a chemical equation on the whiteboard. Documents may even be transferred from tutor to student or vice versa by e-mail or an application on the whiteboard in order to facilitate the lesson.

**Active Learning versus Passive Learning **

This type of tutoring is also exciting for the student because it uses technology which keeps the student engaged and also allows for more two-way interaction between the student and the tutor. Many parents have found that online tutoring is more effective than

in-home tutoring since it keeps the student more alert and focused on the topic being studied. The online student must focus on the content being presented by the tutor and is compelled to ask questions and give input in order to learn the subject. In other words, it involves active learning on the student’s part as opposed to passive learning which is sometimes the missing ingredient with in-home tutoring or even in the classroom at school!

**Online Tutoring Makes the Student’s Life Easier **

In addition to the points mentioned thus far, there are other perhaps less obvious benefits to working with an online tutor. The student is not obliged to trek across town to a library or even have a tutor travel to his or her home for that matter. That is, the student can fit online tutoring into a busy schedule that includes sports, clubs, and homework without having to waste time traveling to another location for tutoring! Even in the case of in-home tutoring, a tutor must come to the student’s home which may seem like an imposition especially if the student has had a busy day or just wants to relax while working on homework.

Online tutoring also allows the student to work with the tutor at different times of the day and from different locations that are not always possible with in-home tutoring. For example, the student can fit in an hour of SAT practice while on vacation with family as long as an internet connection is available! Also, online tutoring allows the student to work with a student who may be located far away or at a time which may be difficult for the tutoring session to take place otherwise. Think about the inconvenience of having an in-home appointment on a Saturday morning or after a soccer game at an away location! The online tutoring session is easier in both of these cases, because there is not much pressure put on the student. In the first case, the student can learn Precalculus in his or her pajamas shortly after waking up and in the second, he or she can grab a quick bite to eat and then get to studying online for tomorrow’s big French test without having to straighten up the house for an in-home tutoring session.

**Conclusion**

The benefits of online tutoring greatly outnumber those for in-home tutoring as can be seen above. This is because the online tutor has all of the tools that are available to the in-home tutor and more, including the use of technology. Also note that online tutoring allows the student to work from the comfort of home at any time that he or she pleases without having to have a tutor visit the home. All of these factors contribute to a better learning experience for the student!

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